Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM), a voluntary, incentive- based program, helps farmers to address natural resource concerns through the help of conservation agencies. The benefits provided by AEM help to establish Best Management Practices (BMPs), increase awareness of impacts on the environment and protect drinking water, on top of several other benefits. Several funding sources are available to our AEM farms in order to implement BMPs and conservation stewardship.
Using a tiered process we can help develop farm planning:
Tier 1 – Inventory current activities, future plans, and potential environmental concerns.
Tier 2 – Document current land stewardship; assess and prioritize areas of concern.
Tier 3 – Develop conservation plans addressing concerns and opportunities tailored to farm goals.
Tier 4 – Implement plans utilizing available financial, educational, and technical assistance.
Tier 5 – Evaluate to ensure the protection of the environment and farm viability.
Agricultural Non-point Source Abatement and Control Provides funding for water quality protection projects that focus on environmental planning and best management practice systems. Projects include conservation measures, such as nutrient management through manure storage, heavy use areas, and vegetative buffers along streams. Funding is typically announced in December and applications are due in April. Climate Resilient Farming Provides funding to mitigate the impact of agriculture on climate change for greenhouse gas emissions reduction and carbon sequestration, in addition to enhancing the on-farm adaptation and resiliency to projected climate conditions due to heavy storm events, rainfall, and drought. Projects could include soil health systems or water management systems. Funding is typically announced in December and applications are due in March.
AEM Cost Share Provides funding for smaller scale BMP projects. Max of $50,000. Funding is not available till 2022 but it is not too early to start planning.